Joshua Pacio confirmed on Monday morning that he has indeed left Team Lakay.
This comes days after Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao announced that Pacio had indeed joined Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario in the ongoing exodus in Baguio City.
“I’d like to start this off by giving thanks to the people that helped mold me through my formative years, namely the members of Team Lakay led by our dear coach Mark Sangiao,” said Pacio, who is a product of Team Lakay’s farm league back in 2013.
“I wouldn’t be a World Champion in ONE Championship without the guidance of Coach Mark Sangiao enjoying the blessings given through the learnings I have honed with my fellow Team Lakay members. However, there is a saying that champions never rest on their laurels and must continue sharpening their skills.”
Pacio, 27, was seen as the next leader of Team Lakay. He is part of the next generation of Lakay fighters that were full-time mixed martial artists, along with Danny Kingad, Stephen Loman, Lito Adiwang, and Jhanlo Sangiao.
The 5-foot-5 Baguio-native is a former two-time ONE Strawweight world champion. However, he lost the belt to Jarred Brooks last month.
And in his quest to be the best once more, he said that he needs a change of scenery.
“In my quest to better myself and reclaim the belt that was once mine, I have decided that moving out of the fabled stable that gave Filipino fight fans much to cheer for inside the Circle is the path that I have to take,” said Pacio, who is 20-4 in his career.
“I believe that stepping out of my comfort zone is the way to level up my overall skills in the world of combat sports.
“There is much to do for me to recapture the throne and it begins with this step. I have nothing but neverending gratitude to Coach Mark Sangiao and the rest of Team Lakay. They have raised me as much as I have made them proud in all my fights. My hero’s quest is only beginning and I am excited to get this on track!” he closed.